Japan loves Monster Hunter. This is technically an opinion, but c’mon, can you really disagree? I love the series myself, and it always confuses me that Americans are not typically aware of the glory that is Monster Hunter. I’ve heard arguments that it is the generic title, or possibly not enough marketing. Some even say that the game is too hard for Americans (not sure if I’m offended by that).
I have a different theory. Let’s think about what Monster Hunter is. It’s a game in which players fight powerful monsters, monsters which are usually much more powerful than the player. Players must make many calculations for things like weapons, armor, location, and monster hit-zones. No, I’m not saying Americans are too dumb for this. I happen to be one. My point is that the difficulty of Monster Hunter is deceptive.
How about a story? Everyone loves stories. When I first played MH, I was absolute trash. I couldn’t even kill the Giadrome, a monster which is so weak, it doesn’t even count as a boss monster. I could have given up, but I didn’t. I turned to the community. You see, the Monster Hunter Community is a sort of strategy guide in itself. You can effectively google any monster’s name along with a weapon and find a video tutorial to help you. Monster Hunter is hard, but it’s a community effort. Eventually, I killed the Giadrome and its other “drome” cousins. Now I sit at rank G3 in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. Thanks, MH community! 😀
Why is this so hard for Americans to understand? Well, think. How many games developed and released in America are known for extreme difficulty? We are trained to expect difficulty in the form of skilled players. As a Monster Hunter fan, I understood the game as something normal, but honestly Monster Hunter is weird. No narrative? No competitive multiplayer? No leveling up? All I do is kill stuff with friends?
NO ACHIEVEMENTS OMGWTFBBQ!?
Seriously, I now understand why Monster Hunter is so foreign to players. It’s not a hard concept to grasp, just a hard concept to think of as “fun.” This must be what it sounds like:
“Hey, wanna play chess against this super high level AI?”
“Aww c’mon, you can play with up to three friends!”
“But the board is different, so prepare for that….and the AI has more pieces than you…..and you don’t get a trophy or plaque for winning.”
But there is merit in the Monster Hunter system. The game rewards skill, not the amount of hours logged in. On top of that, there are so many weapon and armor options to choose from. Players are encouraged to be self-motivated. Most of all, Monster Hunter encourages cooperation. I miss co-op. People tell me it still exists. I don’t believe them.
Monster Hunter is a startling example of multiplayer gold. Maybe developers will see this and try cloning MH instead of Call of……
Nah, I doubt it.